Last year, Chinese shipping giant Cosco made a bid for a 35% stake in one of three terminals in Germany's largest port in Hamburg. At first, Germany was a little unsure about whether or not to let the deal go through for national security reasons and for fear of increasing its dependence on China. But China is the country’s top trading partner.
Last week, Germany agreed on a compromise for Cosco to take a reduced stake in the deal. It can now get a stake of less than 25%, which prevents the company from making official management decisions. This move would make the deal a purely financial investment. Then, on Wednesday, a US State Department official said the US had cautioned Germany about allowing China a controlling stake in a Hamburg port terminal. This news comes ahead of German Chancellor Scholz’s visit to China.
Well, China heard the news and, on Thursday, its foreign ministry said the US has "no right" to interfere in Chinese cooperation with Germany. Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that US interference is part of a trend of the country’s coercive diplomacy.
"Pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany is a matter for the two sovereign countries, the United States should not attack it without reason and has no right to meddle and interfere,” said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
"The embassy was very clear that we strongly suggested that there'd be no controlling interest by China, and as you see when they adjusted the deal, there isn't," said a US State Department official, remaining anonymous..
“The reason for the partial prohibition is the existence of a threat to public order and safety,” Germany’s economic ministry said in a statement.